Inaccurate SMEs?

Subject: Inaccurate SMEs?
From: "Geoff Hart (by way of \"Eric J. Ray\" <ejray -at- raycomm -dot- com>)" <ght -at- MTL -dot- FERIC -dot- CA>
Date: Thu, 17 Dec 1998 06:53:51 -0700

Anon. wondered <<What do you do when you suspect or even know
that the sme assigned to your project isn't such an expert? What do
you do when the sme gives you inaccurate information?>>

My first reaction, sad to say, is to walk up to the guy's supervisor
with all the problems highlighted and say "sack this twit... he
doesn't know what he's doing." Fortunately, I get over it real fast.
In my experience, the problem is rarely that the guy doesn't know his

As always, the best solution is to go talk to him directly and find
out just what the problem is. With one guy, I discovered that he
simply has an aversion to reading, and that I had to _discuss_ things
with him in person if I wanted to get any results. Another guy is a
seriously poor writer and knows it, and he appreciates my editing and
rewriting so much that he simply assumes I'm right, which isn't
always the case. Same deal: talk to the guy. It's annoying, but it
does remind me to escape my office every now and then and keep up
a good working relationship with my authors. That works wonders when
you need to call in a favor and get a good review.

Best case scenario: You discover the guy is overwhelmed with other
work, stressed out, or illiterate, and that you can find another way
to work with him that makes both your lives better. Intermediate
case: You help him write a killer resume that gets him a plum job
elsewhere. Worst case scenario: The guy was scared by a techwhirler
as a child, and has dedicated his life to making the lives of
techwhirlers everywhere as miserable as possible. If that's the
impression you get when you talk to the guy, then you probably do
need to go over his head and talk to his supervisor. Do it gently,
aware that no matter how carefully you proceed you're going to step
on at least one set of toes (plus the manager's toes if you suggest
that in his case, "manager" is a one-word oxymoron). If that doesn't
work, you may need to fall back a step and ask your own manager to
intercede; that's definitely a last resort, since it gives the
appearance that you can't handle your own problems.

--Geoff Hart @8^{)}
geoff-h -at- mtl -dot- feric -dot- ca

"Patience comes to those who wait."--Anon.

From ??? -at- ??? Sun Jan 00 00:00:00 0000=

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